Widely considered to be the very first Pride event, the Stonewall riots of 1969 were a far cry from the rainbow marches and corporate sponsorships that have come to be associated with today’s Pride events. It is an evolution that would be unrecognizable to the subversive figures that opposed the police’s flagrant abuses of power on that fateful night. Those figures were Marsha P Johnson, Sylvia Rivera, Raymond Castro, Storme DeLarverie, and Miss Major Griffin-Gracy.
Understanding the background and history of this event and the individuals associated with it highlights the reason why certain groups are opposed to having a police presence at Pride events, the corporate trend known as rainbow capitalism, and the magnification of structural inequalities in places that purport inclusion.
Just last month, Starbucks had to carry out nationwide “racial sensitivity” training, after the arrest and forced removal of two black men from a Philadelphia location. Starbucks claims to value diversity, but it still follows through with anti-black actions. And yet, the coffee conglomerate is a Bronze Sponsor of the Pride In London Parade, with many other companies following that hypocritical model. Racist, sexist, and homophobic policies are too often hidden under a facade of political correctness and good PR.
Being informed of the origins and motives of today’s Pride traditions and rituals can help ensure that young QTPoC do not become complicit in their own oppression.
The Workshop @ The EFNIKS Daily is our writing program for young QTPoC writers. Each of the 5 writers identify as QTPoC, and are between the ages of 17 and 22. Program participants receive a $200 stipend for the 60-day program. You can help us build this and other EFNIKS programs by visiting our support page.